Testing out the 300 FPS with the RED Epic and Mr. Eric Kessler

Screen grab from RED Raw 5K shoot on Saturday

Grading with Magic Bullet Looks.

I am in Indiana (actually writing this in Michigan) hanging out with Eric Kessler of Kessler Crane for a week. Having a lovely time, relaxing and catching up on a backlog of work including shooting my Canon XF100 review which I will be shooting tonight. This backlog got more backlogged when Eric’s RED EPIC turned up for his studio and for use by Kessler Shooters. So I had to make the most of this opportunity and grabbed it from Eric. I have all my F3 glass with me as I have my F3 with me so lens wise I was sorted.

This afternoon I am doing a “proper” little piece with it, but before I did that I needed to get my head around the camera, how it worked, workflow before taking it on a shoot.

Not knowing the camera at all, with a little shoot coming up I wanted to test it out and get my head around the camera and workflow. So I had to shoot something so thought to myself “Why not throw loads of water at my mate Eric Kessler?”. So I did and here it is. Nothing original, but I have never done it and have never shot anything over 60 FPS before so a real treat for me, especially as Eric was the victim! 🙂

Chris Beller threw water at him as did his own mum and she appeared to take great delight in it…strange!

It was a lot of fun and didn’t take long at all to do. I lit it with some lights that were around the Kessler Crane studio as when shooting 300 FPS you shutter speed needs to be at least 1/600th of a second. That means a LOT of light. I was wide open at F2 on the Zeiss CP.2 35mm, had a 1K soft box on him, a 800 watt hard light on him and a 150 watt kicker. Even with that light I needed to be at ISO 1000 to get exposure. I was still getting some flickering as the lights simply were simply not good enough to cope with the very fast shutter speed.

The EPIC is a 5K camera, and can shoot a lovely 120 FPS at that, but to get 300 FPS you must drop to 2K and an aspect ratio of 2.4:1. My video is actually at 2.55:1 just because…When dropping to 2k you are cropping the sensor so you only get a centre portion which means your lenses are magnified effectively, so getting a wide shoot in a small room is tough!

I graded with Magic Bullet Looks and Colorista II (20% off MBL with code bloom20 and redgiantsoftware.com checkout). I pressed a button somewhere before shooting and suddenly my shot turned slightly green, no idea what I pressed but it’s gone now so I just graded it out.

I had a lot of fun shooting this, maybe it was the perverse pleasure of seeing my lovely friend Eric get water thrown at him…I don’t know! But shooting this has given me more confidence with the camera to take it away from a test onto a shoot (as long as it doesn’t go all t*ts up like my Alexa one did a few weeks back)

It’s actually very easy to use. Touch screen menu make everything from frame rate to ISO to shutter speed and much much more all easily accessible via the very intuitive menu but more on that in my next RED post once that shoot it done. In the meantime enjoy the silliness and if you want watch the live USTREAM I did whilst shooting this. Sorry about the commercial, that’s USTREAM for you!

Music is by the legendary Bob Dylan and the track is called Wigwam.

Thanks to Michael Sutton on Boston RULE Camera, mounting solution from Wooden Camera, Sarah, Chris, Theresa and RED


Video streaming by Ustream



    1. I know, its gorgeous. That sort of post-processing is clearly a necessity given the flatness and awkward hue of the still. Final Product looked great though. In short: Word.

  1. Effective demonstration… hope your liability insurance covers ruined laminate flooring! One feels you missed a true opportunity of an excuse for a real wet t-shirt competition ;-). Some lady swishing her hair in slow motion is what I am thinking! That would look sweet.

  2. Lovely to see the actual shoot (especially the direction and the ‘on the fly’ camerawork) juxtaposed with the final edit.

    Epic is a wonderful movie machine. It raises the bar and I hope we FS100 shooters will rise to the challenge in using software plus 1080p50…

  3. Looks great Philip. That’s nice you got to use the new firmware to shoot 300 fps. I had the EPIC for a week and the day I sent it back the new firmware came out. Oh well next time. 120 fps was still fun. Good looking grade also.

  4. Hey Philip.
    I’ve got some experience shooting the phantom HD (1000 fps), and lighting becomes an issue at high speeds. It’s not really a matter of light ‘quality’, but any light you have running off of AC current will flicker, as the bulb is being intermittently charged and discharged in a constant wave (on off on off) thus, alternating current. The only way to ‘fix’ this, is to use tungsten lights so hot, that the molten tungsten doesn’t have time to cool down inbetween electric charges. This means you have to use at least 2000 watts for 300pfs, is my guess. For 1000fps phantom 5,000 watts is the bare minimum. Some folks have talked about flicker free HMI, but they suffer from ‘arc wander’. DC powered sources, like really bright LED panels, are my hope for the future, but I have yet to test LEDs in high speed footage.

  5. Hey Philip,

    Nice work, the piece really got my attention at 1:03 where a bit of Eric’s lip starts to dry where the water is rolling off. The clarity at which we can observe that is remarkable.

    What a good sport Mr. Kessler is-



  6. Hey, Philip. Job well done. I love the track. You have an amazing ear for music. Could you please talk about the editing process for this footage? Did you edit this in Premiere CS 5.5?

  7. Very cool, but you should have used “Gatorade” then maybe it wouldn’t look so Homoerotic, Just Joking 🙂

    Looks Awesome, and I agree with LRS the Color Grading is cool.

  8. It is impressive but the price is impressive too. It remains to hope that the Scarlet will be just as good for the money it will cost. The main thing that did not have to wait another few years! While it is possible that its real value would also be a glass of cold water!

  9. Great test! The ability to shoot at 300fps, even scaled down, is really intriguing. Much less aliasing than 60fps with Twixtor. Your grading makes a huge difference in the screenshot on what’s visible behind Eric. How were you able to take that semi green background and make it black? First I thought it might be a color key or something but then you might have lost some color detail to his face. I read that magic bullet and colorista were used but had no idea you get results like that…

  10. You’re in my home state! Spend a day on Lake Maxinkuckee if you get a chance. Love that place. They have sailboat races that could make some interesting footage.

  11. Great Video.

    One thing I would like to comment on is the song since songwriting is my profession. Did you get permission from Bob Dylan or his publishers to use this song?

    I know you are proponent of protecting artists ownership, but I see way too many commercial ( yes this video counts as commercial ) videos using songs without approval from the owners or artists.

    I am sure if someone used some of your images without permission you would feel the same way.


    1. Hi Ted,

      I never used unlicensed music for any of my paid work. This was just for fun with the artist credited on the video and in the description. Why do you consider this commercial? It’s a piece of fun that I was not paid to do, make no money from, done purely to test out the camera.My footage is used all over the place without my permission and I only ever take issue with it when I am not credited. Check the video on youtube and it is itunes tagged, Vimeo should do the same thing so if people like the track they can but it.



      1. Hi Phillip,

        Just finished a semester of media law as a minor for my film degree, but I’m still going from memory (and Australian law) here so someone correct me if I’m wrong.

        A film is considered commercial when it is used to promote/sell a product other than the film itself. You could get paid either a million dollars or nothing for a film and it wouldn’t be considered “commercial”, until there’s any sort of product placement/promotion (like the Kessler T-Shirt at the end of the film).

        If a film is commercial or not bears no relevance using copyrighted music, only Creative Commons licensed music. There’s fair-use exceptions and a stack of other bureaucratic nonsense, but in the end they have to sue you to get anywhere and unless you’re making a ton of money out of the video it’s not really worth it for them.

        So far as I understand: technically this film is commercial, but it’s extremely unlikely that using the music will cause any problems.

        PS Really admire all your work, any chance of a blog post about your time/experiences working in journalism?

        Cheers, Nick

      2. Also,

        It’s a great way to get music to ears of people who haven’t heard it before. I bought tons of tracks that I first heard in one of Phillip’s videos.

        That’s money that the artist wouldn’t have gotten if Phillip hadn’t used their songs.

        peace suckas

  12. So…

    What do you think about the camera ? Is it easy to use ? How is the build quality ? Do you have any preference between Epic and Alexa ? (I’m asking this only because you can compare, not to be told what to buy i’m already sold to Red even if Arri’s is also a nice piece of gear)

    One important question : what was your post-production workflow ? Did you edit the Raw Proxies ? Made ProRes with RedCine X and so on ? RedLog ? Etc…

  13. Hey Philip,

    I just wanted to let you know that I’m officially caught up on everything Philip Bloom. Saw all your videos, all the videos you appear in, and pretty much everything else I could find and I gotta tell ya… I’m a fan. You’re a hilarious fella, you crack me up. You have a great personality and you know your sh… I mean stuff. 😉

    I’m working on the thing I told you about and I’m gonna plug away until you say yes. Gotta do it man. Gotta do it. It would be a big bummer if it didn’t happen.



  14. I find the subject nature of this piece somewhat overtly erotic…! haa.

    Its frustrating to see all of this great slow motion footage and I can’t even get nikon to give us a decent 60fps option.

    on the whole concept of the music usage, I know that I will use music from commercial artists on fun projects from time to time, for commercial gigs I use stock music and royalty free music. But what is important is that we are buying this music from the artist weather its in cd form, or on iTunes, so the artist is making money because we as consumers buy the music to listen to. Maybe you should try to call up Bob Dylan to ask him to use his song, I think he would probably get a kick out of it 🙂

  15. Beautiful result!

    One question about the coloring, Phil:

    How did you manage to to get this look? I love how only the face and the water are illuminated? t’s not by keying, or rotoscope, I presure.

    Is this done by a luma matte? A specific MG tool?

    Kind regards!

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